Ease for a Top Down Raglan

Ease is really personal. Ease is the amount the finished sweater is bigger or smaller than the measurement at your bust line. How tight or loose you wear your clothes across the bust, is entirely up to you. Two people with the same bust measurement may knit two different sizes, depending on how they want their sweater to fit.

Positive ease means the sweater is bigger than your Actual Bust Measurement. A sweater that measures 44″ around on a body with a bust measurement of 40″ has 4″ of positive ease.

You can have negative ease too. If the sweater measures 38″ around the chest on a body with a bust measurement of 40″ then the sweater is said to have 2″ of negative ease. The T-shirts you wear usually have negative ease. It does not mean it’s 2″ smaller everywhere. If the sweater is knit straight it may have positive ease on the torso even if it has negative ease at the bust line. Apparently, in the knitting industry, we are only concerned with the fit at the bust line. Go figure (pun intended).

For the Any Gauge Raglan Pullover I was attempting to fit a pullover with some positive ease. At the Bottom of the Yoke this sweater would fit like a second skin. It fits your Actual Bust Measurement + both your Actual Arm Measurements. It fits your body exactly as measured. But we don’t leave it there.

In this pattern I have you add the Ease as a cast on at each underarm.

How much ease? That’s up to you. The easiest way to determine how much is to measure the sweaters you wear. How much bigger/smaller is your favourite sweater than your Actual Bust Measurement? That’s the amount of ease you like. Half the ease is added as cast on stitches at one underarm and the other half, cast on at the other underarm. Now your sweater body has the amount of ease you wanted.

You can see that half the Body Ease will eventually also be added to the sleeve. Let’s say you want 3″ of ease for your body, then 1.5″ is cast on at each underarm. When you work your sleeve, you pick up one stitch for each underarm cast on stitch, so adding 1.5″ of ease to the sleeve.

But … you knew this was coming, there are modifications you can make here.

  1. Different ease for your sleeve: If half the Body Ease is not the right amount of ease for your sleeve, as you set up your sleeve you can pick up additional stitches in the corners beside the cast on stitches for slightly more sleeve room or for less ease, pick up fewer stitches from the cast on stitches. It won’t involve very many stitches + or – so is fairly easy to do.
  2. You miscalculated your gauge: Your pullover at this point is a little smaller than anticipated. You can cast on additional stitches to add body width plus the amount of ease you wanted, as you cast on at each underarm. If your sweater is too big at this point, sorry you’re going to have to rip back several rounds before you cast on for the underarms.
  3. Yoke is getting too long: Your pullover yoke is already level with your underarm so you don’t want to work any more increase rounds to get to your total number of stitches at the bottom of the yoke. You can cast on the extra Body stitches needed to get to the correct number of stitches at the Bottom of the Yoke at the underarms (divided between the two underarms) along with the amount of ease you want.
  4. You want Negative Ease: Work until at the Bottom of the Yoke your sweater is the number of inches of negative ease you want plus extra 1″ smaller. Then cast on 1/2″ worth of stitches at each underarm. For example, if you want 2″ of negative ease then knit until your Yoke is 3″ smaller than your Actual Bust Measurement (2″ negative ease + 1″ smaller). Cast On 1/2″ worth of stitches at each underarm. This will make your sweater come out to the amount of negative ease you wish plus add a little ease to your sleeves.
  5. Extra Bust Width: You want to add some extra width to the Front only. Take your Total Sweater Ease at the Bust – Ease added on the Front only = cast on the underarms, divided between the two underarms. For example: Total Sweater Ease at bust is 5″ – 2″ added to the Front only = 3″ ease to Body at the underarm (1.5″ cast on at each underarm).

You might guess what I did. Give up? Yes, I added extra ease across the Front only. We’ll get into that next.

Cheers and stay safe and well, Deb

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3×3 Cardigan Prototype Done

It’s time to get the cardigans out, at least in my neck of the woods it is. It’s also past time to finish a cardigan that I started in the spring. How about you? Are any of your sweaters begging for some attention?

My design process is really slow. I knit a prototype, this cardigan, and then I write the pattern. Now from my written pattern I knit another sample. That’s where I am now, so this is going to be a quick post because I need to get cracking on my second cardigan.

Ta, da, I pretty proud of myself for finally finishing my first 3×3 colour cardigan. I even sewed the buttons on yesterday. That usually takes me months to get around to. Oh, wait, it did take me months!!20191016_101606

The last bit of knitting I had to do was to raise the back of the neck. To get a lower front on this Top Down I made the shoulders quite wide when I cast on. That means the back of neck was low too. Whoo, that really is quite a dip in the back!20190723_145811

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I needed to fill in some of the back of neck dip for the cardigan to be comfortable. I picked up a stitch for every cast on stitch and worked short rows, making the first turn in the centre of the far shoulder, turned and work to the centre of the other shoulder and turned again. I worked 2 stitches further toward the front with each short row and turned again. The back of neck is over an inch deep now and the front is less than 1/2″.20191016_101746

Finished. I did it all in garter stitch using German Short Rows which I think work really, really well with garter stitch. You only have to learn how to do the short rows knitwise, bonus. Here’s a side view of the neck shaping. It’s all happening over the shoulder stitches.20191016_101812

Today I’m casting on another 3×3 colour cardigan in DK weight Cotton Tweed this time. My pencil is poised over my written instructions. Ready, set, go.20191018_102350

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Under the Bust Shaping

Is it too early to think about knitting garments? Too late, I’ve already started but I don’t want to repeat this …

The cardigan is finished. I’m so excited as a stand in front of the wall of buttons at the Fabricland store trying to choose the perfect buttons. These ones, no maybe these ones. I’ve decided on the blue ones (ha, almost always). I’m rushing home to sew them on. Oh, it looks gorgeous. I’m patting myself on the back as I put it on and stand in front of the mirror.

I tug it a little, tug a little more and get that horrible feeling as my heart drops down to my toes.

I have that horrible buttonband gaping. Can I wear it without buttoning it up? Maybe, I guess I could but I really like 3 or 4 buttons done up.

That was several years ago before I realized that I had to have some extra width right here.Body schematic bust shaping Top DownNow as a confirmed cardigan buttoner I add extra Front stitches for Bust Shaping to every cardigan. Then I have extra width just where you need it.Bust shaping Yoke increases Body schematic direction of knittingBut now what? What do you do with those extra stitches below the bust?

This is my current cardigan. I decided to knit this Top Down to my regular Finished size, including the ease, and then add even more additional width above my bust. I don’t want that unsightly buttonband gap that seems to show up in so many magazine photos. Negative ease on a cardigan across the bust is a mistake.

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Now I’m cruising down the body with the extra width across the bust. Decision time, do I want these extra stitches to remain on the front for the entire body? Sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes no.

This time it’s no. I’m going to decrease those extra bust stitches away so that my two Fronts and the Back are in their original proportion: 2 Front sts added together = Back sts.

Techy Talk:

I worked straight until I had knit just past the largest part of my bust. For me that’s 4″ measured down from the underarm cast on.20190717_105637-1.jpg

This time I decided to decrease the extra bust stitches or most of them anyway, worked along with some waist shaping. So here goes.

On a Right Side row I’m going to decrease on the front side of the imaginary side seam on both Fronts (that will decrease an extra bust stitch on each Front). Then work a couple of rows and decrease on both the Front and Back sides of the side seams (waist shaping). Knit a couple of rows and repeat.Underbust decreases bust and waist

underbust decreases with 3x3 sweater

I worked this repeat quite quickly with only a couple rows in between the sets of decreases. I’m very short and I needed to start the A-line shaping for my hips pretty sharpish to get the width I needed there. If you are tall, first of all I’m envious, and second you can space these sets of decreases further apart so that you work them down to your waist. It will look terrific.

Cruising to the bottom edge now. Yay. Sleeves here I come.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Any Gauge and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

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Ease, get the fit you want

I did a talk at a knitting guild last month based on the Any Gauge Raglan. I took them through the entire process from diving into their stash and casting on to figuring out how to get the Bottom of the Yoke to fit their unique body.

In the knitting industry we use the actual measurement of your bust (using a tape measure) + Ease to determine the final size of your sweater. One measurement. I know, it seems crazy. Obviously this one measurement cannot tell the whole story of your figure.

So I had everyone measure their Bust and their Arms. Almost no one had ever measured their arms. It’s important for your sleeves to fit as well as your body. I find that I need a slightly bigger sleeve than most patterns are allowing me for my bust size. I know from talking to many plus sized women that if they are busty the sleeves are often too big for them. Maybe you have found you can’t get both the bust and the sleeves to fit perfectly.

Body Measurement Workshop schematic

I have a solution. In the Any Gauge Raglan the raglan increases in the Yoke are worked until you reach the exact number of stitches needed to go around the Actual measurement of your Bust and both your Arms. At the Bottom of the Yoke it has to fit YOU because they are your measurements.

Any Gauge bottom of Yoke schematic

At this point the sweater would fit you like a second skin. If that’s the size of sweater you want you have it right there.

For a more relaxed fit some Ease (the amount your sweater is bigger than your actual body and arms) is added as you work the Divide Round as Underarm Cast On stitches. Again you get to decide how much ease you would like. Do you want a close fit or looser fit?

Close Fit:  Ease = 5% of Actual Bust measurement

Relaxed Fit:  Ease = 10% of Actual Bust measurement

Comfy Fit:  Ease = 15% of Actual Bust measurement

Loose Fit:  Ease = 20% of Actual Bust measurement

As you work the Divide Round half the Ease stitches are cast on at one underarm and the other half of the Ease stitches are cast on at the other underarm. That way the Total Ease you calculated above is added to the Body of your sweater. Ta, da, as simple as that.

The Any Gauge Raglan Yoke is worked to your personal measurements. Then you get to add the amount of Ease you wish for the fit you want.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Any Gauge Raglan, it’s done

Maybe you wake up one morning and decide today is the day you’re going to cast on for a pullover for yourself. It’s time. You go to your stash and pick out some yarn that has been calling to you. You check through your library of patterns at home or on ravelry to see if you have one that matches the pullover you want to make. Time passes, more time passes and you haven’t cast on yet.

What if you could get right to it. Cast on now. That’s what this Any Gauge Raglan pattern is all about.

Any Gauge Raglan Adult front page

I am a problem solving designer. One of my problems and maybe yours too, is that I don’t get gauge with the recommended needle size. I’m a loose knitter so usually go down one needle size to get close to gauge. With this pattern I am going to get to use the unique gauge I get with this particular yarn. One problem solved.

You can Cast On using the gauge information on the ball band if you usually get close to gauge with this yarn (I get close enough with the needle change) or you could do a swatch. Figure out the number of stitches you get in 1″ and you’re ready to Cast On for the neck opening.

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Yes, there is some math, more properly called Arithmetic. Nothing more than taking measurements in inches and multiplying by your Gauge (number of stitches in 1″). You can do this.

I’m really excited to present the Any Gauge Raglan Adult.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Knitting Guild workshops

Do you belong to a Knitting Guild? I had the pleasure of doing workshops at two different knitting guilds this week. I am also looking forward to my own knitting guild meeting later this week.

Our Couchiching Knitters Guild has been running (under various names and several different locations) for more than 20 years. We were getting so chatty at our meetings that we couldn’t seem to get anything else done so now we go for dinner first and then meet at the Purl3 knitting shop for our meeting. We do a short technical lesson or discussion (this month it’s bring your favourite Christmas gift pattern) and then, the highlight, our show and tell. There is always lots to inspire us: stories of problems, offers of solutions, new books, new patterns, yarn galore and lots of encouragement. It’s always terrific to be with people who love knitting as much as I do.

In Port Hope I lead the Make It Fit workshop. I was impressed by the number of sweater knitters in this group. We explored small additions to a pattern that can make a sweater fit each of our unique figures. Yes, the person who has to make a sweater fit really well is you.

Female-Body-Shapes Workshop (2)

We discussed why you need to make accommodations and where you would incorporate each technique. They knit a little sample to try out several techniques:  Easy Bust Shaping, Bust Shaping with Twin Stitches, Where is your Waist. Knitting the sample seemed to make it all more real and open up the possibility that they could actually add the shaping they needed on their next sweater. Because they are a guild they now have the support to make this happen.

At the Knotty Knitters guild meeting in Peterborough we explored taking a raglan pattern and seeing if we could make changes to the yoke and come up with something different.

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I truly believe that every knitter has a designer inside them who wants to get out and try something. This is the class for that knitter. There are so many possibilities and places to go using a raglan pattern. This workshop has produced these two patterns so far:  Kid’s Diamond Pullover

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and Kid’s Summer Topper.

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There will be more coming down the pipe.

That was my exciting week. Next weekend is the Cabin Fever Retreat where we are doing all things I-Cord. The fun never stops!

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Cabin Fever patterns and Books on Ravelry

Knit to Fit and Fade

My first fade is finished. I love it. I knit it in Dragon Strings,   Fairy Wrap (worsted weight) in Dirty Hippy colourway with 4 colours. The Fade stripes were easy to work and it’s so much fun getting to see the next colour blend in. I would totally do another sweater this way.

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KNIT TO FIT:    Usually your Top Down pullover will have a specific number of stitches to reach for the bottom of the yoke. That was the case here but I still wanted to have extra width across the Front for 2 obvious reasons. The easiest way to do this was to work the increases that would normally be worked on the Back, on the Front as extra increases. The stitch count remains as it should and there would then be extra width on the Front where I needed it.

Continue reading “Knit to Fit and Fade”

Raglan Sleeve Freedom

Have you ever checked the measurement of your arms? Does the sleeve of every sweater you knit come out correctly for you? Is that stopping you from knitting for yourself?20180809_112733

We use the bust measurement to choose a sweater size to knit but does that mean that the corresponding sleeve is going to fit also? As I age I find I need larger sleeves than many patterns will give me, especially if the pattern is written by someone younger and smaller. If you are busty you may find that you need a narrower sleeve than the pattern is going to give you. If you are plus sized you definitely need to check your arm size against the schematic to check the fit.

Continue reading “Raglan Sleeve Freedom”

Pick A Body Shape

Waist & hip shaping (2)What is your favourite sweater shape? I believe that sweaters need a curve to make us look our best. If you knit from the Top Down you get to choose the curve you want to put in your sweater.

You can work this typical Waist Shaping. Decreases are worked to nip the waist in and then increases are worked back to your original number of body stitches.

 

You can add Hip Shaping. Work decreases to take the waist in, work increases back to the original number of body stitches and then work some more increases to add extra width to the hip for more wiggle room. This is my go-to for any fitted sweater.

 

 

This is one of my favourites for a casual sweater, Hip Only Shaping. Work straight down to the waist and then work increases for extra hip width. If you are hippy this is wonderful because, for once, your hips work for you and give this shaping a terrific curve with very little effort.

 

Have you worked an A-line? These are very flattering and create a great curve. They do have to be the correct length and width to be effective. A small amount of A-line shaping can be worked into a shorter hip length garment. A lot and I mean lots, of extra width can be worked into a tunic length sweater. They can really swing. Did I mention that they are wonderfully comfortable to wear?

 

Do you have a favourite? Is there one of these shapes you’d love to try?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

ANY GAUGE and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

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4 Top Down Advantages

I’ve been knitting Top Down for many years and I’m probably never going back to bottom up garments. OK, never say never because it could happen, sometime, maybe. Here are several reasons why I love knitting Top Down:

1. The Body length of the sweater is in your control. If your sweater is the correct length you might find that you wear it more often. Are you short like me or tall (I wish)? Do you find that your sweaters look best if they are a certain length? When you knit from the top, you get to choose. You can make your sweater the length you want whether the pattern was written for that particular length or not.

simple circ yoke
Simple Circular Yoke

 

2.  Sleeve Length is also yours to determine. I have worked with taller people who actually wanted the long sleeve of their sweater to be shorter than I would wear them. This totally shocked me. Apparently I like my sleeves quite long.

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3.  You can try your sweater on many, many times. Put half the stitches onto another long circular needle. The circular needle can be the same size you are knitting with or a smaller size. This gives you room to spread the stitches out around your body to give you an indication of the size. I often try my sweaters on about 6 times during the knitting. I want all the lengths to be right. Of course I’m sure every time that I have knit it to the correct length only to find that I still need to work a couple more rounds. How come they always look longer on the needles? I thought I was much further along on this sweater!

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Take It From The Top KAL

4.  You can put all the shaping exactly where you need it. Not that you can’t when you knit from the bottom up but you have plan quite a bit ahead of time. A top down sweater can be shaped as you work. You can put it on after the Great Divide to check where the bust shaping should start. As you work down the body you can see where your waist is and where to begin the hip shaping. When you are past your elbow you can put your arm through the sleeve and measure how much further you have to knit to the exact sleeve length you desire.waist shaping I

Knitting to your unique figure is easier when you can alter the pattern as you work. Being able to try it is a huge plus.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

ANY GAUGE and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

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